The owners of unlicensed food stalls that create “bad smells for tourists” near the Sras Srang lake in Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaeological Park have been ordered to relocate by the end of the month or face forced removal.
Representatives of the Apsara Authority, the government body that manages the park, met the vendors on Wednesday to deliver copies of the eviction order. Dated Friday and signed by the authority’s director-general, Sum Mab, it instructs vendors stationed next to the man-made lake to remove their stalls by June 30.
“If you refuse to implement the requirements of the announcement, the Apsara Authority will cooperate with relevant institutions to take administrative action, and we will not take responsibility for any damage to property,” the order says.
Apsara Authority spokeswoman Chau Sun Kerya said Tuesday the vendors—whose offerings included grilled chicken, rice and traditional Cambodian soup—were verbally informed about the June 30 deadline over the weekend.
“Their businesses create bad smells for tourists and affect the environmental beauty there,” she said.
Ms. Kerya defended the short notice by saying that vendors next to the Sras Srang lake—which faces the Banteay Kdei temple in Siem Reap City’s Nokor Thom commune—had been warned not to set up shop there years ago.
Commune chief Nga Chong said the eviction order would affect at least 10 stalls owned by three families.
Pon Mom, 50, who sells rice, chicken and pork, said she would be willing to modernize her stall to reduce the odors emanating from it, but would not move—as the Apsara Authority never once told her to relocate in the four years she had been operating in the area.
Man Channa, 26, said he was holding out hope that the authority would reconsider its decision, explaining that he had taken out a sizable loan to construct a small restaurant and six stalls on the lakeshore.
“If they force me to remove the shops now, they will kill my whole family,” he said.